Established in 2014, the Parkdale Garden was founded as a program within the Parkdale Community Association (PCA) by Audrey Smith. Working with a team of local volunteers, Audrey created the plan and developed the first phase of the Garden. Designed to showcase some of the most ecologically sound and effective gardening practices in the city, the Garden hosts 44 rentable beds, a food forest, two perennial gardens, an herb circle, children’s area with sandbox and garden boxes, composting operation and storage shed.
Guided by a Steering Committee, the Garden is comprised of members both within the geographic boundary of Parkdale and its surrounding communities of West Hillhurst, Montgomery and Point McKay, as well as program partners.
Volunteering in the Garden
There are many ways to volunteer::
Serving on the Steering Committee
Plan & participate in the major Gardening events.
Weeding and maintaining the public areas of the garden,
Be a Garden Angel by watering or weeding your neighbour’s beds when they’re away (if they’ve asked, of course)
Writing articles for the newsletter/website
Originally built as part of a donation from the Manning family in Parkdale, the Garden Herb Circle is a fenced-in ring with birdhouses perched atop the posts, and serves as a collective location to plant and celebrate herbs of all kinds. From mint and parsley to bergamot and silver sage, and even plants you might not expect (such as stevia and grapes), Maureen has helped to create a great space where complementary plantings produce great results.
Every member of the Garden is welcome to help with and pick from the herbs in the Circle; the plants are mostly perennials with some annual additions. If you want to know more about the plants or to help maintain the Herb Circle, contact Maureen.
The Parkdale Garden is extremely lucky to have some of the best perennial gardening in the city performed among the food-growing beds, courtesy of Maureen Flynn-Burhoe who is a longtime enthusiast of Alberta native and specialized perennial plants.
When the development of the Henry townhouses threatened to impact her alleyway Garden, Maureen worked with the PCA Garden and Brookfield Properties to transplant her entire perennial garden to the Garden. Now primarily located in three stunning beds that comprise key welcoming areas of the Garden, the perennial beds are maintained by a team led by Maureen.
If you are interested in learning more about perennial gardening in Alberta and helping with these beds, contact Maureen.
Food Forest, Guilds & Perimeter Beds
The Parkdale Garden features a series of beds, designed by Garden Founder Audrey Smith, that are comprised of an integrated ecosystem of primarily fruit-bearing trees and shrubs with supporting understory plants, meant to mature together over decades. Individual Guild beds between the raised bed area and Shed, as well as Perimeter Beds on the northern to eastern border of the raised bed area.
These beds feature apple and cherry trees, berry bushes, assorted herbs, and hardy Albertan perennials. A rock garden is also featured in the Food Forest path. Garden members who participated in caring for the food forest will have a chance to take the harvest home. If you are interested in participating, contact Stephanie Westlund.
Serving as the official beginning of the Garden’s plantings and purpose, the Garden’s Welcome Beds are located at the south end of the Garden Area, next to the PCA parking lot. Originally planted as demonstration beds to articulate some of the thought around the Garden’s Food Forest project and winter gardening, the beds now serve as the welcome for the entire Garden space, with an emphasis on natural beauty and promotion of a supportive ecosystem, including butterflies and local pollinators.
If you wish to help with the planting and maintenance throughout the year, contact the Garden Steering Committee.
Cuddled between the Herb Circle and the raised garden beds is our Children’s Area, a well-utilized special place for the youngest members of the Garden. Featuring a sand play area, kid-sized garden tools, a little free library and seating for both kids and caretakers, and kids’ garden boxes, the Children’s Area also hosts kid-friendly activities from time to time.
A few guidelines for using the Children’s Area:
Children must be supervised at all times
No glass (e.g. bottles and jars) in or around the sandbox
Ensure that sandbox is covered before you leave
Encourage children to leave sand in the sandbox, not mix in outside materials and keep sand toys in the sandbox area
If you’re interested in helping with the Children’s Area, contact email@example.com.